📈 If you know anything about dental analytics, you likely know Dental Intelligence.  So when Steve and I met a few months ago, we knew there was a special podcast episode brewing. Steve hosts "Growth in Dentistry" - this episode is a shared episode between his podcast and Kinda Different. We dive deep into how to improve decision making in oral health using analytics, assess the gaps that we currently see, and discuss how we can all move forward to meet the needs of patients, providers, and the profession moving forward.

Listen in on Spotify/Apple, or watch/read below:

You can find more about Steve and Detnal Intelligence at the following places:
Website: https://www.dentalintel.com/

What is up, everyone? Welcome back to another episode of Kinda Different. I am Matt Allen, CEO and co-founder of DifferentKind, and your hosts for Kinda Different.
You might notice that there's no one else with me right now. We have a super special episode for you today. I had a really great discussion with Steve Jensen from Detnal Intelligence.
It's an extra long discussion, so we chat about a lot over the course of about 45 minutes, and really kind of get into, hey, what are the analytics that we need as dental professionals to help drive growth of dental practices, to help drive improved oral health of patients, all of the things that matter most to all of you. So, super excited for this episode. It's kind of co-branded, so it's not really an interview one way or another.
It's just kind of, hey, here's the two of us just talking. I think you'll really like the episode, so enjoy. We'll also come back next month with another special episode as well, and probably one in August before we start back with season five in August.
So enjoy, hope you like it, and let us know if you have any feedback. Excited for this conversation, and yeah, excited to, you know, from one podcast host to another, right, like excited to be here together today.
Yeah, sweet, so thank you. So this is what's been on my mind. I'll start this, and then Matt and I are gonna have kind of a casual conversation.
We'll get in the weeds sometimes on some numbers. We'll talk about kind of some concepts that I think you guys are gonna really like. But here's the way I'll frame it that's been on my mind.
So when I think about growth in dentistry, I have talked with lots of different doctors lately around how they're thinking about growing their practice. One way is I wanna like, I've been one dog, two hygiene for years, and I've got operatory space, I wanna grow my business, so I need more patients, right? Now, in order to grow, the best way to grow is I have to keep all my existing and then add some patients on and keep all the new ones I'm adding, right?
So everyone understands that concept. There are some doctors that are like, you know what? I've been doing this like four, sometimes five days a week thing, and I'm starting to feel burned out, and I would like to grow my practice, but scale back.
And so in that situation, the patient experience is even, I don't know if it's more crucial, but in my opinion, it's almost more crucial. I really have to keep the patients that are going to do that higher case dentistry with me, and I can't afford to lose those patients, right? Because I'm gonna scale back my days, scale back the way that I'm operating.
So in all of these, and I'm giving kind of a spectrum, like maybe you're a high growth inpatient volume, or maybe you're like restricting patients on purpose. Either way, patients are at the core of this, and the experience you're giving to the patients is at the core of this experience. So here's my initial thought, Matt.
You tell me if you wanna throw some things in here before I do this. My initial thought is, hey, why don't I give like a few stats around the way that I think about patients and the experience on the dental intelligence side of things, and I would love to hear like the concrete stuff that you're thinking about from DifferentKind.
Yeah, that sounds great. Let's start there, and yeah, we'll riff and kind of build on each other's thoughts. I'm super, super pumped about it.
Okay, so for those listeners, let's start here. So if you're thinking, okay, like where, Steve, from your perspective, like what are some good global numbers that help me understand? Am I giving a good patient experience?
Like where can I go look that might be an indicator of that? So I'll give kind of some classic ones. The first one are like patient retention metrics.
So I look at one number I call is pre-appointments of all your patients, what percentage are scheduled to come back? And the reason why I would say that's a patient experience number is because if they're not willing to schedule that next appointment with your practice, then my guess is their commitment level to you is not super high. Like they're like, yeah, I like you guys, but not that much, right?
It's kind of like when someone asks someone out on that second date and they're like, no, I'll reach back out to you. I'll let you know. It's like maybe the date went okay, but it wasn't that great, right?
So pre-appointment, reappointment is like that similar thing, but specific to hygiene. Like hey, in the hygiene chairs, when they finish that hygiene visit, that continuing care appointment, how likely are they to schedule that next appointment? And I wanna see that number above 90%.
Industry averages around like 80%. So anytime it's lower than that, I'm like, hey, there's something going on there with the experience, and then also with some training elements as well. It could be conceptually, it could be a good experience, maybe training's not good, and we're just not asking, but I still would suggest that's part of the experience, right, the training part.
And then the other things I might like comment on are like, there's some clinical stuff, and we can get into the weeds on some of these, but I wanna get some like numbers out there. The other ones I think are clinical experience. And the things I look at there are, if a patient's presented with a treatment plan, what percentage of the time does a patient say yes to something, right?
So patient case acceptance. And then I also like to look at when a patient's presented with, you know, a $10,000 case or a $5,000 case, what percentage of the dollars are they saying yes to? And that says something to me about the experience as well.
It's like almost comical at this point. I can like almost tell you, I'm probably like 95% certain if a practice has TVs in the operatory, if they have an intraoral scanner that they're actively using during case presentation. Like I can tell you what kind of technology they have just based off of their case acceptance numbers, especially when the case size gets bigger, like it's like five, $10,000 cases.
I can pretty accurately predict like what's happening in the presentation and some of their like vocal cadence. Now, I'm interested, Matt, because all of my numbers are really more like I'm deriving experience from it, but what you're doing at DifferentKind is you're actually getting communication back from the patient to understand, like how was your experience in getting feedback? And I think there's some numbers that can actually like tell the practice what's actually happening.
So do you mind like talking to that a little bit and I'll share some of my thoughts as you share?
Yeah, for sure. Well, you know, I think I love, so, you know, as we were kind of talking about this in general, right, this idea of like, hey, what we, I think all want to move past is this idea of like, hey, your, you know, patient experience should be derived from like your revenue, right? And if that keeps going up, your patient experience must be going up, but you know, whatever.
That's the outcome metric. And I think what we're both trying to say here is that we need better, you know, kind of like indicating metrics or like not, you know, we don't need the line metric, we need the leading metrics on this stuff, right? To help you understand, okay, cool, if I really want to impact that, what do I need to do on the front end of that?
And so 100% agree to all of the things that you're saying. And I think, you know, one of the things you didn't mention was like, you know, case acceptance, just numbers in general, cause I think those can be super misleading, right? Cause you have a bad experience, it's super easy for a patient to say, yeah, this sounds good, and then just never come back, right?
So like actual, hey, you did something to move forward with a treatment plan, not just say yes in the office, because I felt awkward, you know, whatever, right? So that's kind of, I think, some of the milieu that we live in, right? That we both live in, of like, how do we help practices with some more of those leading metrics?
And you have a lot of good dental office metrics around that, and I think what we've been trying to do at DifferentKind is to really say, hey, the patient is definitely a part of this, just as the doctor and the staff, and he's got to have good training, and you know, all of those things, right? Like there's another dance partner here, and I think we've been making a lot of assumptions I think it's really important to think about what that dance partner thinks or feels or whatever, and it's like, why don't we just ask them? That's a pretty easy way to actually find this out.
And so what we've done is to really kind of create that what are called patient reported experience metrics for these dental practices to marry with data like you have on dental intel and some of those metrics that you just mentioned to say, okay, cool, if your new patient reappointment rate, I think the national average from your numbers is like 48%, right?
Yep, that's right.
So that's not good.
Yeah, half of the patients are scheduled, half of them are.
Yeah, that's not great. But if you're working on all of those leading metrics, can you impact the number? So we've looked at that number on RN and all of our customers, that average is 85%, right?
So most of the patients who are coming in are making that next appointment. And you're like, hey, if you're focusing on that, if you're focusing on creating that good patient experience, creating those connections, doing all of those pieces, then yes, you can really impact a lot of these numbers that you're talking about here. And so for us, yeah, it's kind of asking the patient and kind of marrying that data with what you have, and we can get more into the weeds on that, but just at a high level, that's kind of how we think about it.
Yeah, I do wanna get into the weeds a little bit. So I'm thinking, and this is gonna be me just kind of exploring with you. Okay, what can we actually know and get here?
So at Detnal Intelligence, we have, for our support team, like the second, like a support, chat gets closed out or a phone call, a little message goes out, and we're tracking some support metrics. It's like the first thing that's gonna be like, hey, how was your experience with our rep? And some graded scale.
And then what's the metric? Is it CSAT, do I have the right, is that the right score? Yeah, customer satisfaction score.
So we're tracking CSAT is our metric. Do you track CSAT or is it like a different number, but similar?
Yeah, so what we've done, so we have 14 individualized, very, like, well, 13 and then kind of one roll up metric, right? And then we take all of that and we create one metric in our system that has some algorithms that go around it and some special math, right? That we call the DK score.
Okay, so that's kind of how we-
What does DK stand for?
What, different kind. Just sounds like, hey, like here's your old, like, yeah. Exactly, here's a different metric that looks at all of those kind of rolled up into one to give, you know, a quick pulse check, right?
Which I think is what historically NPS has tried to do, you know, some of that stuff. But if you're only saying, hey, would you recommend us? Like, you're not really getting, you know, the, like, but the why, right?
And, you know, you can certainly kind of get into that. And so for us to kind of create that metric, it was important to take all of the metrics and then like, you know, include them in that one big metric. So that's how we think about it, but you know, yeah.
Yeah, that's great. So yeah, so tell me what goes into the DifferentKind score, because I'm like, I'm very curious to understand, like, what are some of those key pieces to like, like, what do I want to know? Like, I'm thinking about my, like, my experience in dental practice.
What could they ask me about? Like, I would want to be able to, like, is there a rating system or are they like rating, hey, you saw Angie today. How is your experience with Angie?
Is there like a practice rating? Is there anything around like finances? This is me, like, actually not knowing.
Matt and I have just recently met. So, I'm like, hey, let's get into it.
Yeah, it's super fun to have these conversations because I think we've talked, you know, we're swimming in different lanes of the same pool and I think we're like, oh yeah, there's so much here that we can understand.
For listeners, the reason why I'm asking some of that is I'm thinking like, hey, like, I'm trying to manage a business, so I'm a big fan of data should be actionable. I should be able to like do something with it. And so, you know, there are some things, one of the questions I get asked all the time is, hey, like for my assistance or for my front office team members, like what are the metrics I should be using to track their performance?
And I have a few things, right? Like some of those ones that I mentioned, I think are good, like patient retention and, you know, accounts receivable, like some of the classics, like are we getting paid and things like that, which are all good business mechanics. But man, it would be great to have something, that's the reason why I'm asking about like, can we like isolate team members or parts of the experience?
So then we start having some scores around, hey, like here's the experience that different parts of the business are giving that help us as an owner be more intentional with training and actionable with our management. Does that make sense?
100%, yeah. So I'll give you like high level view of kind of how I think about that. And then maybe like how some of that highlight like can actually get into like the specifics of, hey, here's like how that can impact some of the metrics that you're talking about, right?
That you are all great at measuring. So for us, like for example, we do track NPS, right? So like, we just think it's important to give that to people because they kind of think about that in a certain way that they've come to expect.
So, okay, cool, we'll measure that. But what we've done then is take all of our data and looked at like, hey, what's actually most correlated with NPS? We released a white paper on this last year.
So totally available for everyone to check out if you're interested in diving more into this. But the three top metrics that we have that actually impact NPS from our data are number one, what's called shared decision making. So do you involve patients in their decision making?
And I think for so many dental offices, the way that that looks is like, hey, here's $10,000 worth of treatment. You need to do this. And you're like, okay, well, I don't have, do I have options?
Like, is there any choice? And it's something that's being told to them, like you have to do this, right? And you're like, again, it's super easy to be like, okay, cool, sounds good, yes, right?
I guess that's important. And then you're like, I haven't said I wanna do it. I haven't prioritized it.
I haven't actually made any, like, yeah, this sounds good. Here's why I want to do X, Y, and Z, right? And so it's just kind of being told to them instead of them saying, oh, you know what?
I really want to do this $10,000 treatment plan because I value this in my life and here's how it's gonna impact this and whatever, right? So that's number one. Number two is active listening.
And I think every single person in the office can do a better job at this. And certainly something that, you know, it impacts the front desk. It impacts everyone, right?
Like not just providers. So, and I think for decision-making-
Probably we all could do better active listening. I could do that better as a dad and as a spouse.
Not just a dental skill, right? Not just a dental skill. So that's number two.
And number three is what we call patient consideration. So were they gentle, sensitive, my comfort level, you know, kind of like, were they paying attention to me, right? If I said it hurt, did they stop and, you know, be like, oh yeah, or they're just like, hey, power through it, right?
So all three of those are generally like, I would consider more of like traditional soft skills. You know, it's how you communicate. It's not actually what you're doing necessarily.
It's how you're communicating what you're doing. And so to me, I look at a lot of that and say, okay, cool. Yeah, like we can do that at the provider level.
We can do that at the practice level. And so for example, we had a customer where they came into our platform struggling in lots of ways, but a couple of specific metrics stood out to us. And one of those was price transparency, where the patients didn't actually understand what they were responsible for paying beforehand.
That was very clear in the data. And they were able to work on that, implement some solutions to actually manage that. We watched their scores consistently improve and in the metrics that we collect, like DK score, some of those things, NPS, right?
All of that. As well as, like, new patient, same day treatment rate went up 73%. New patient reappointment rate went up 63%, right?
So you're seeing these big changes in some of those metrics that you're talking about by saying, hey, we found this pain point and here's how we're actually going to targetedly now make improvements on that instead of just being like, what's going on? We're struggling, but we don't know why. And so now we're spending a lot of time, energy, money, anecdotalizing that, which I feel like is just super easy in dentistry to do.
You're like, well, it's gotta be this, because I saw this happen one time. You're like, you know, maybe, but like, is that actually the system, right? So that's kind of how we think about it.
Curious to your perception of that, how that resonates with like the constructs that you had in your head, because I think, you know, yeah, you have some different kind of angles on this. So I'm curious to how you kind of, yeah, just perceive that, I guess.
Yeah, I mean, the first that I had was, I mean, I think that's brilliant. This idea of, okay, like, does the patient feel like they were sharing the experience like that is huge and that they have options and that they're being listened to? Like, the three things you just mentioned are fantastic.
And the first thing I thought was, man, knowing that those things can help increase retention, just for like context for everyone. I think that, I don't have it right in front of me, but the average patient value, the average annual patient value for the average practice is somewhere between like seven and 800 bucks per patient. Okay, so let's call it 700 bucks.
So for every 10 patients that you retain, that you don't lose, which the average practice is losing, like 30, 40, 50 patients every single month, just because they've lost them. Like out the back door, didn't get them rescheduled, slipped through the cracks, they're busy, they've got some new patients coming in. Every patient that we save is worth 700 bucks.
So if we can improve our retention rate and save 100 patients in a year, which is not that many, when you actually start looking at numbers, we're talking about less than 10 a month. But if we save 100 in a year, we're talking about like $70,000 of collections that we're saving within the business. Now, is that how it plays out because of schedule busyness?
I totally understand some of those arguments, but if you want, we're talking growth in dentistry, you wanna grow the business, or if you want to scale back, go more fee-for-service, and you wanna keep those higher-value patients, then man, these specific types of metrics, we're getting more granular there. I just can imagine that having just a dramatic impact on the practice. Not only that, but I'm also thinking like, that example specifically, going fee-for-service, so many people don't have this confidence, I'm like, okay, how can I confidently know that if I go out of service, that my patients are attached to me enough to stay?
That's one of the big fears, is I'm gonna go out of network, I'm gonna lose a shiz-ton of patients. This might be a place, too, where if someone's, I'm trying to think through use cases, if someone's like, hey, I wanna go and do that, man, this would give them so much more confidence approaching that project, knowing where they're at with their patients. And if they're in a bad place and they're like, okay, maybe I'll focus on this for a little while, get my scores up, so that I know we're tethered together, and then I'm gonna approach this project with more confidence, right?
100%, yeah, no, for sure. And I think that's a great, thinking through use cases right around all of this. So it's like, how does patient experience scale, growth in dentistry?
Maybe you're in that bucket where you're like, hey, I have one or two practices, and now I have this secret sauce that I, as a founding dentist, and I wanna bring it to more people and continue to do that, right? Maybe that's your use case. And you're like, cool, your secret sauce doesn't scale, unfortunately, when you're not in the office, right?
And so how do you ensure that the things that you do, that you train on, that you think are important, are actually consistently happening across these practices, right? And I think that it's, the metaphor that I've heard from folks this year is, like we know we have a hole in the bucket, right? If we look at whatever dashboard we have and understand, like, oh, our revenue is down or our production and whatever way you measure that is down, right?
But like, ultimately, they don't understand why that hole is there to begin with if they have a hole. And so that's really where I think, you don't wanna just be guessing at that, right? Like that's not a good strategy to be like, well, yeah, it's gotta be the patient experience.
So let's improve the patient experience. You can spend a ton of money and time and energy on solutions that you might not actually need, right? It might be that price transparency thing, and you're like, oh, we just implemented this AI thing that does X, Y, and Z.
And you're like, that's cool, but does it actually solve the patient pain point, right? And that's where I think a lot of folks can really start to kind of dive deeper into that, I would say.
Yeah, this might be a really lame visual, but you were talking about holes in the bucket, and I was imagining getting insights into like, okay, what are the holes and where can I patch them up? I was picturing DifferentKind and Detnal Intel being like Flex Tape. Have you seen those commercials where it's like, it's like an infomercial for this Flex Tape, and there's like a big hole in this bucket, and the guy walks up with Flex Tape and slaps it on the side, and you know, plugs it up, or he like tapes a boat together?
You know where, if you understand like, hey, where it's coming from, then we can help give you the tools to know like Flex Tape, right? You just go slap this bad boy on there and fix it. You know?
Well, it doesn't mean that other holes aren't gonna happen. You might have to use Flex Tape in a couple other places, but that was like the, as you were talking, that was like this visual I was getting of it.
I love it. No, totally, man. I have like, so one of the things that I wanted to like, kind of have, get your perspective on, right?
Because I think we have a perspective on this, but you know, and it's interesting just to hear other people's that are in the same realm of like, hey, we're looking at this kind of data and like understanding, you know, how to conceptualize it, right, for practices, which I think is, you know, we could have a whole conversation about that, right? It's like everyone wants data, but like it sits on the shelf if you don't, and if you don't do anything about it, like what good is it actually doing, right? So we can have a whole conversation about just like, hey, how do you actually like put into play, you know, the data that you are getting from dental and teller for different kind, you know, whatever it is, right?
But I think one of the things that we see that is like super important just in terms of like retention and, you know, really driving what I would consider like ultimately improved patient experience.
I'm curious, what's causing patients to fall off? We have some ideas around that, but I'm curious of your perspective there in terms of what you see in the numbers, and how we can unpack that. You got them to come back, at least now.
Now what, right?
Yeah, that's perfect. In fact, why don't I share some good news? So earlier, we mentioned the fact that half of our patients across the whole nation are not scheduled to come back is not good.
That absolutely can improve. Now, we've been harping on that for years. And I just want everyone to hear this.
The industry average for pre-appointment percentage has been increasing for just year after year. So we are getting better. Hygiene reappointment.
So like when we're there in the hygiene chair, are they scheduling the next visit? That has been going up. Like when we first started tracking that, that was like in the low to mid 60%.
And last year, our average was over 80%. I think it was 84%. I'm looking at this graph.
So last quarter, we did 84% across the industry as an average. So that's like freaking awesome. So we are making progress on some of those numbers.
Now here, you said, okay, let's jump over into like the case acceptance side. And here's where things are interesting. There's some nuances here.
And so we can kind of riff on some of these where there are some trends in dentistry that I find fascinating. So here's a couple of things that I'll call out that we can kind of chat about that affect the patient experience. So trend number one, the average dentist is diagnosing more often today than they have in the past.
Meaning like they're presenting more options for treatment. Now, when you look at like source data, it's not that people are being unethical. It's that there's a trend towards super dentistry or a general dentist expanding their treatment procedures that they do in practice.
So all that means, right, is if all of a sudden we're doing some Crown & Bridge and all on fours or some extractions or whatever in the general practice, then our diagnostic percentage is going to increase. Does that make sense? So like that one has been increasing.
Another one that's been increasing naturally if they're doing more comprehensive dentistry is the total dollars that we're presenting. That has been increasing. And what's interesting though is the average practice right now, case acceptance, and this is on the dollars and the patients, has been trending down for the last three years.
So we're taking more at-bats clinically. We're presenting more treatment clinically, but it's going down on the patient and case acceptance. Now those two things on the whole are kind of making up for each other.
Does that make sense? So like the average practice has like, not necessarily like grown a big way from doing that treatment, but they also haven't like dropped production on average. So they're presenting more, but just getting less said yes, you know.
So it's like evening out, but that's not like clinically, I don't think that's what's like ultimately best for patient. And that means there's gaps in the patient experience, right? Because there is a grouping of practices who are presenting at a high level from a treatment presentation like comprehensive dentistry plan, who are outperforming the average consistently with their case acceptance.
So it is absolutely possible for us as an industry to say, hey, like we're getting, it's cool I think that general dentists are expanding their services. I think there's some cool elements to that. But it's not cool if the work's not actually getting done.
So how do we close that gap? And that's what I think would be kind of fun to talk about because it's new experience to be like a super GP and they don't feel this clinical pain or financial pain necessarily because they're evening out. But man, I would love to see over time the treatment acceptance and case acceptance percentages.
I would love to see those trending back up instead of like they just have been, and it's not like it's steeped down. It's just kind of like this slow down for the last three years. Like it's just been doing that.
So I would be interested to hear your thoughts. Doctor, talk to us.
I'm gonna give you my hypothesis here based on some of our data. And then I wanna hear your perspective on it, right? So it's interesting you mentioned the like, hey, if you're going out of network earlier and like, will patients actually stay with you?
Because I think one of the assumptions that we're making here is that like, what makes patients leave is different than, or is the same as what makes patients stay. And 100% that is not true, right? Like what is going to make someone leave your practice is actually different than what's gonna make someone stay with your practice.
And so a lot of the table stakes, right? Like, were they on time? Like, are they reasonably skilled clinically, right?
Like, can they do the dentistry that they say they're gonna do, which most patients are kinda like, yeah, I think they can, right? Like, there's just this kind of assumption that that's like, hey, you're a dentist, you should know what you're doing, right? You know, some of those like just very table stakes, you know, types of pieces are, if you do not do those, people will leave.
And if you're doing those all the time, well, that's great. But that's actually not gonna be the thing that makes people stay. Ultimately, I think this is where a lot of dental practices struggle, right?
Because these are the things that are like, the trust building factors are the listening, the empathy, the, you know, a lot of those kind of relationship-based skills. And those ultimately are the things that are gonna make people trust you, which in my perspective is like, hey, you know, if you're saying that like, this is gonna be really good for me, and I'm saying like, yes, I wanna do this, and that we're gonna come back, and we're gonna make this thing happen together, it's gonna be a great partnership, right? And we're gonna do $10,000 worth of, you know, dentistry in my mouth, right?
Like, it's gonna require some trust for me. And so, to me, that's where like, the gap starts to happen, right? Is that you have people who maybe have gotten better at some of those logistics, right?
So maybe more people aren't leaving and whatever, but they're not necessarily doing all of those things that are actually the real trust building elements that are going to cause patients to say, yeah, you know, actually, I'm gonna switch from, I come in every six months, I get a cavity filled every now and then to like, of course I wanna do some sleep dentistry. And you know, I have been thinking about on for a while, whatever it might be. So that's my hypothesis, give me your thoughts.
Yeah, I'm like sitting here thinking like, man, I wish we could get beyond hypothesis and just say, okay, like let's take this subset of practices, let's look at their different kind measurements on the patient experience, and let's actually get to like some like, hey, when these numbers are high, we have high case acceptance, you know what I mean? And like that would be, we have like, I mean, so many times I'm like, yeah, we've got numbers figured out in dentistry. And then moments like this where I'm like, man, like we have a wide open blue ocean of opportunity to keep honing the craft, you know, like how can we up level ourselves and measurement helps us do that.
Like this podcast I love because my assumptions that listeners are like totally cool with like measuring every little thing about our clinical, you know, selves and our business selves, where I know a lot of folks are pretty like resistant to it, you know, but I've gotten to the point where like my personal life like I'm trying to boss and qualify right now. So I'm measuring like not just like my pace, but like my heart rate and my step cadence and so many small little measurements, what percentage of my runs are aerobic and what percentage of them are like intense workouts. And I'm mapping all of those because it's allowing me to kind of project like, hey, in seven weeks from now, like am I actually on track physically to hit this, you know, three hour or under marathon time.
And I can start to predict like, yeah, I'm likely gonna fall out of that. I'll still give it a shot, but like, you know, the numbers don't add up to the outcome that I wanted to hit. And we can, I think get, we can start making some progress towards that with some of these, like kind of combining some of like the clinical practice management metrics with the patient's feedback, you know, the stuff from DifferentKind, to really start honing in on, okay, how can we get to the point where it's like, hey, like I know I've got the right pieces in place, like my patient flow, my clinical skill, what I'm presenting, all of those things, but also like I know I have the patient experience, what they're telling me is going to lead to the right outcomes and get increasingly predictable.
Like we want to talk about, and maybe this is like too conceptual, but I think all dentists in the whole country would love it if dental practices were more valuable, you know? And investment, money values predictability, right? The more it's like, hey, like if I can put, you know, 25 cents in this machine or a hundred bucks in this machine, and it's going to spit out 15% or 20% or whatever, the more predictable it is, like the more interesting the, you know, investment opportunity is, or the higher the value of that thing, more people will be interested.
So this is one of those things where like, man, like we hone it in as clinicians. Now I'm not a clinician, but I'm speaking you, you know? The clinicians and owners can really hone this in.
It makes their business far more predictable. And to someone that's not a clinician is like, okay, wow, like this is a really cool, you know, model that I can have confidence in and confidence in you and makes your, you know, practice hopefully more valuable. You know, that's what it should be.
If it's predictable, then it's more predictable than the other guys, then it should be more valuable, so.
Dude, I got three thoughts here. Okay, so number one, you know, I think this idea of value is actually something that we see a lot and it's like something we measure, right? From the patient perspective, right?
Like, did I get the value that I expected right out of this care? And it's general, it's for a lot of practices that provide a lot of excellent care is low. It's low.
And that actually, to me, corresponds with that shared decision-making piece, right? Around like, if you're just telling people what to do, they haven't chose it, right? But it, you know, there's some very basic things you could do, right?
Like, we can make this very practical real quickly here, right? Like, if you're a front desk person, you're like, you know, administrative staff at the front is saying to the patient like, hey, what was most valuable about your visit today? And the patient has a moment to like voice that as they leave, right?
Now their frame as they walk out of the office, that last touch point is very different than like, okay, well, we'll just see you back for your next visit, right? Like they had no opportunity to think for themselves what might be valuable, right? So there's a very basic idea around like, hey, here's how you can increase the patient's perception of that and how you can make that more predictable because you might be presenting more treatment, but if they don't find the value of that, right?
They're not gonna come in for it or they're just not gonna feel good about it afterwards, which makes it less likely that they're gonna, you know, do it the next time or whatever. So that's number one. Number two, like I feel, you know, it's interesting to think about this because I think if there's dentists out there who are listening to this or practice, you know, owners or whoever you are in the dental ecosystem and you're like, I'm frustrated because I want that, right?
Like we do too. And I think that, you know, that's why we're having this conversation, right? Like I think this is at the forefront of like where dentistry continues to go.
And my third point is related to that around, I love the analogy of, you know, elite athletics when you think about this, right? Because if you're gonna run the best possible dental practice you can, you're gonna have to go beyond just measuring pace and measuring like how far you ran that day and whatever, right? Like I'm a cyclist, so, you know, I don't love something, but I totally get, like I can nerd out on data.
You have your FTP like locked in, you know exactly what your watts are that you're putting out.
Yep, right? You're talking about like, hey, here's my zone two, and here's like how many millimoles of like lactic acid that me, you know, is coming out of there. So we could get super nerdy.
But I think that like, if you expect to be that elite athlete and just be like, well, I went for a 13 mile run today, and I did it at a pace of like X, right? Like you're gonna be sadly disappointed that like you're not making the training progress that you want to see. And I think it's similar, right?
Like you're going to need that data. You're also going to need, you know, some of the things that you're talking about in terms of like, hey, here's like what percentage of time I spent at zone two today and whatever. You're also gonna need to pull in other data sets that simply aren't gonna show up from your wearable, right?
Or whatever. So your heart rate strap is not measuring your like dietary intake and whatever. You're gonna need all of that data as well to help you kind of create this holistic picture of like, here's how I'm gonna get to the goals that I need to get to.
And so I really just appreciate that analogy because I think when we think about that, all of that data wasn't available until relatively recently for us. And so we feel like, oh man, we're behind the times in dentistry. We just don't have all this data put together.
And it's like, well.
But it's coming.
But it's coming, right? Like we're there, we're on the forefront of this and we're helping put this together for these practice owners who are like, yes, I want to grow my practice and I want to open that new location. I want to do so predictably and in a way that allows me to have confidence that when my data looks like this, I know what the outcomes are gonna be on the revenue side.
So to me, that's just such a great analogy that I think really resonates and lands with a lot of people. You're not gonna be an elite athlete if you don't understand all of that data, just like you won't be an elite dental practice if you don't understand all of that data as well.
Yeah, and then the other experience, I'll say this, speaking of like athletics, I had three years ago, it was the first time I ran a marathon. I was like, you know what, I'm gonna fricking try it. Like I'm a general athlete, you know, like I run and lift and like play basketball and stuff like that and did some sports in high school.
And so, you know, I think I just kind of thought I could just go run 26 miles. I saw a peer athletes like, okay, three hours, 30 minutes, I could probably go do that. And I slogged through the marathon, I was trying to get under four, finished at four hours in like 50 something seconds and was just devastated.
Or I'm like, holy crap. Like that is way harder than I thought. But I looked at my training before and I thought I had run a ton, but I hadn't.
Like the month before, I ran like 30 miles. The month before that, I ran like 36 miles. My longest run in the whole thing was 14 miles.
Like I just didn't do it. And so I think when we think about like dentistry and clinical work and owning kind of a business, the thing that I love about adding kind of these layers of metrics in there and exposing them and talking about it and making them commonplace is it can allow people like me that are like, okay, like I'm gonna go take a stab at this. Like I'm gonna move from an associate.
I'm gonna go buy a practice. I'm gonna do this thing. And that can be good.
Like maybe you don't have measurement and you've been like me, you feel like you're hobbling through a four hour marathon, but you're like, okay, like I'm sick of the four hour marathon thing. Like I'm ready to step it up. Then this can help give you clarity on where we can step it up.
Like what are the things we can start focusing on on our like clinical and business skill to help improving things and patient experience skill. So I just love where we're going. So I think at this point, I'm probably good.
Like this is like such a good teaser for what's more to come. Matt, we always ask the question, I wanna make sure this gets out there. We always ask every guest on our podcast, what does growth in dentistry mean to you?
So I would love to hear your response to that.
Yeah, that's a great question. And I have one question for you too, because obviously since we're cross-posing this, I wanna make sure that we get this answer from you too. Yeah, so for me, I think growth in dentistry looks like sustainable relationship-based care where people are coming back, right?
And that's me, right? If you're at a different kind of practice where you're like, hey, I'm not gonna focus on people coming back. Because the reason that I say that is because as a clinician and someone who's seen patients and whatnot, my best days are the days when all of my patients that I come in that I know, right?
New patients are hard, right? It's like a very hard thing. You're trying to build trust, you're trying to do diagnostics, you're trying to do all this stuff.
It's really hard, right? So if you can have all of the patients that you know kind of coming back, doing the things that you've talked about with them and seeing them achieve their goals and you're concurrently achieving your goals, it's everyone winning at the same time. Your staff likes it better.
Like everyone wins in that situation. And so, from how it feels as a clinician to grow in those moments, sure, there are probably other ways to do it, but man, I feel like those are really pushing the rock uphill and I would much rather go with the grain of the wood. I just totally mixed some metaphors there.
But that is to me what growth in dentistry means. Because if you're not doing that sustainably as a person, you're gonna burn out, you're gonna experience things in your life where you're like, man, I can't do this anymore. No one wants that, right?
So, that's my answer to your question. That's great. My question for you is, at Detnal Intelligence, how are you making dentistry different and how are you making it kind?
Yeah, cool. I would say this in two ways. One, I have this persistent belief that I make sure gets to everybody.
Now, we're a data company, so when performance is measured, performance improves. We're big on that. And something that I tell everyone about dentistry that I want everyone to hear from our company is this.
People ultimately don't care about how much production you do and all these fancy numbers. Ultimately, what people care about is how they feel after they've been with you. And dentistry is such a cool place where you have the chance, you're a core part of a local community, you have a chance to have thousands of people or a thousand people flow through your business twice a year, and you get a chance to send your energy through them back out into the community.
So while I am hot and heavy on all of these measurement and how can we really know if the patient experience is good or not, don't forget that behind every single number are real humans that share an experience with you. And so I always tell people, if you can hear anything from me, it's just of all the numbers is hopefully just leading towards us having this drive to say, you know what, when people come and have an experience with me, I want them to leave feeling better, more excited about life, more optimistic. And if we can do that with a thousand people every six months, then my little community of a thousand people is gonna be way better off because of it.
So I'm like pretty stoked on that. So there's people behind every single number and make sure that that experience is people centered. And I think that our consistent focus on that is hopefully helping the industry be a better place to work, a better place to live.
Maybe the second thing, I don't know if I'm allowed to give like a double answer.
Of course you can, yeah, of course.
It's our podcast, right?
We can do whatever we want.
And the other thing I tell people is that Brene Brown said this in a book, but she said, she talks about how clear is kind. So in dentistry, we have had a lot of years of experience where as a team member, it's been difficult to know, is my performance excellent or not from like an objective standpoint? So if I have some numbers from the both the patient experience as well as some practice management numbers that I can point to, that can help me understand objectively, am I doing great work or am I struggling?
And when I have that kind of clarity, it gives me the kindness and the ability to like feel confident in myself, where I can point to something and say, you know what, like I'm a great hygienist because my reappointment rate is over 90% consistently. And when I present periodontal treatment options, like they say yes, 70% of the time. And when a hygienist can do that or a doctor can do that or an assistant can point to something that's a little more objective from a measurement standpoint, man, that gives people so much more confidence and vision for like, hey, how can I improve?
So that's the other thing that I would say that hopefully we're doing and that's making its way into the business. And the last thing we wanna do is create a bunch of helicopter management monsters. We wanna create like excitement and vision in the industry through measurement.
Love it, man. That's so awesome. So for our listeners on the DifferentKind Podcast, on Kinda Different, you all at Detnal Intelligence do a lot of amazing things.
People wanna connect with you, wanna find out more about specifically Detnal Intel and how you guys are creating a lot of those metrics that we've talked about today. Maybe they don't have it. Maybe they want better ones, whatever it is, right?
Like how they get in touch with you, where should they go? Give us some info there.
dentalintel.com, just classic. dentalintel.com is where you're gonna go. And then same thing right back at you, Matt.
So folks that are listening, we've got a lot of Detnal Intel customers that are probably like, hey, I wanna get like, I've got like the Detnal Intel thing down. I wanna like dive into what DifferentKind's doing. Best way to get in touch with you guys.
Yeah, differentkind.com. You can book a demo, you can get in touch with us there. I'm always on LinkedIn.
I'll always feel free to connect there. I always love to, you know, we wanna be that voice in patient experience, right? That says like, hey, here's how we do this better and here's like what that looks like for our industry.
So that's most of where a lot of that content lives and whatnot. So yeah, happy to connect there as well.
Well, thank you, Matt, for joining. And then I think, yeah, thank me for joining since we're co-hosting. This has been freaking awesome.
And thanks everyone for listening in. I hope that you found value out of this episode today. It's been awesome, so.
Yep, for sure. Thanks so much, Steve. Appreciate it.
And yeah, definitely look forward to continuing the conversation with you in the future.
Same, talk soon.